People do not think about shower curtains very often, at least until it’s time to replace one. While a high quality shower curtain that is well made and washable can last for years, the truth is that, over time, mold and mildew build up on the curtain from all the humidity in the bathroom. All shower curtains must be replaced at some point, the difference lies in how long the curtain lasts before replacement is needed. There are actually three parts to the shower curtain, the liner, the curtain itself, and the rings that hold both the liner and the curtain on the shower rod. All of these pieces can be found in our stores or online at BedBathHome.com
When buying a shower curtain, buyers should search for a durable, well-made piece with a design that fits their budget and bathroom décor. By choosing the right model, the owner can enjoy the shower curtain for a long time.
Shower Curtain Liners
The first part of a shower curtain is the curtain liner. Since the bottom of the liner is placed within the tub, it gets the most water exposure, and therefore, has the largest problem with mold and mildew buildup. Because it needs to be made from a water-resistant material, it is common to find PVC vinyl liners. Vinyl helps to repel water and keep mildew at bay, and it can even be washed on low settings once it gets dirty. However, many environmentally-conscious homeowners dislike using PVC products because of all the chemicals involved. PVC does not disintegrate in landfills, and since the liner will be thrown away at some point, many people feel this is an irresponsible product. Another possible option is a Eva Peva or a polypropylene liner. While it is still made from plastic, it is more environmentally-friendly than vinyl. Fabric liners are another option, though they are less water resistant and more susceptible to mildew than either vinyl or polypropylene.
Colors and Treatments
Curtain liners are often sold in clear colors. Since they are placed behind the shower curtain itself, there is no reason for them to be colored for privacy. However, we do carry basic colored liners for those who like a colorful bathroom. Liners can also be treated to resist mold and mildew. Treated liners are usually marketed as either heavy duty hotel/hospital liners, or mildew resistant liners.
Weights and Magnets
Some shower curtain liners tend to billow when hot steam from the shower builds up in the bathroom. This can cause the liner to shift position or even crowd the bather. To prevent this, some shower liners come with weights or magnets sewn into the bottom. This keeps the shower curtain liner hanging straight, and it allows the liner to be spread the full length of the shower.
The second part of the shower curtain system is the curtain itself. It sits outside of the tub and should not be directly exposed to water. This allows the shower curtain to be made from a greater variety of fabrics than a liner. While plastic vinyl shower curtains are the least expensive, buyers can also select from high end designers like Kassatex or Heritage Lace who offer cotton or lace shower curtains. When choosing fabric to use for a shower curtain, keep in mind how easy it is to clean. Plastic, polyester, and cotton can all be machine washed, though plastic needs to be washed in cold water and dried on delicate settings. Be sure to check the manufacturer instructions before selecting a shower curtain.
Shower Curtain Details
The best way to determine if a shower curtain is a superior product that will last for years is to examine the details. The weaving around the grommets, the line of holes at the top of the curtain for the shower rings, should be incredibly tight. The edges of a fabric curtain should be hemmed well with no visible fraying. Also, keep the size of the shower area in mind. Most shower and bath combination fixtures are between 5 to 6 feet wide, and the shower curtain is typically hung 6 feet above the floor. This means that most homeowners should be fine buying a shower curtain that is 70 inches long by 72 inches wide, the most common size. However, if the homeowner has a particularly long bathtub or uses a curved shower rod, or even a stall shower, then specialty size is needed.
Colors and Patterns
Shower curtains come in all kinds of colors and patterns. Plastic curtains are vibrantly colored, or they have pictures or designs imprinted onto the plastic. The easy maintenance and bright colors make plastic curtains a great choice for a child’s bathroom. Those who want a more formal bathroom often choose fabric curtains. While these curtains can come in many different colors, they also include woven patterns. Some of the fanciest shower curtains even have lace edging around the trim. Choose a color or pattern that matches the décor of the bathroom.
Shower Rings & Hooks
The shower curtain rings have an important job to do since they hold both the liner and thecurtain in place. Each of the rings attaches to the grommets on the curtain and liner and is then looped around the shower rod. This allows the rings to slide back and forth on the shower rod so that users can easily open and close the curtain. Shower rings are made from either metal or plastic, and a good rule of thumb is to select rings that match the shower rod. A metal rod should have metal shower rings, while a plastic rod should use plastic shower rings. Many rings also include designs on their edges that are meant to add to the bathroom’s décor. For example, a tropically themed bathroom can have a shower curtain with patterns of palm trees on its front highlighted by shower rings that look like palm trees. A seashell bathroom can have seashell shower rings. The combinations are endless, allowing for homeowners to decorate their bathroom exactly how they want.
Cleaning a Shower Curtain
Shower curtains need to be cleaned if they are to last a long time. While the humidity of the bathroom will eventually spell the end for a shower curtain, there are several easy cleaning tips to help keep the curtain and liner mildew free for as long as possible. First, buy a bath/shower spray that is used to clean tile and spray it on the liner while cleaning the shower. Do not use this cleaning spray on the shower curtain, itself, however, unless it is made of plastic, since the chemicals in the shower spray will discolor fabric. Wash both the curtain and the liner periodically to keep them clean. Remember not to wash a plastic curtain in hot water or dry it using high heat. Do not wait for mildew to appear before deciding the clean the curtain, since being proactive is the best way to get rid of mold and mildew. Once the curtain does become permanently discolored, and no amount of cleaning takes away the mildew stains, then it is time to throw the curtain away and purchase a new one.
Buying a shower curtain is a necessary part of decorating a bathroom, but choosing the right one does not have to be boring. In fact, shower curtains come in so many different styles and patterns that searching for the right one can be an adventure in and of itself. Altmeyer’s has one of the largest selections of shower curtains around, and customers are sure to find a deal on at least a few listings. Buyers need to be careful that they are buying the correct type of shower curtain. Liners are used inside the shower, while curtains are placed outside. Shower rings are decorative pieces that are used to hold up the curtain. These pieces can either be purchased in a set, or bought separately. Choose a high quality shower curtain that is durable enough to last for years and has an attractive print that matches the rest of the décor in the bathroom.